Mobile bird identification
Bird Field Guide
A common widespread resident bird throughout Europe, absent in most of Scotland.
Can be found in almost any area of bushes, trees, gardens and hedges.
The Marsh Tit (although much more widespread than the rare Willow Tit) is a difficult bird to identify being almost identical to the Willow Tit. No single visual identification factor can be used alone for proof of identification, as plumage varies slightly within each species and a combination of factors will need to be noted in order to be confident of the birds identity. The birds calls however are very different and if heard can make identification more straight forward.

Marsh Tit

Poecile palustris
Tits & Allies Menu
Order: Passeriformes

Family: Paridae

Genus: Poecile

Species: P. palustris
Other Tit's
Marsh tit
Shiny black cap
Plain winged
White face
Grey-brown upperparts
Grey-buff underparts
Great Tit
Coal Tit
Blue Tit
Long-tailed Tit
Willow Tit (Rare)
Dull black cap
Pale wing panel
White face
Dull brown back
Warm orange buff flanks
Long-tailed Tit
Long thin tail
Dull white head
Pink and brown back
White underside
Small round appearance
Blue Tit
Small blue and yellow bird
White cheeks
Bright blue cap
Dark line through eye
Black chin
Great Tit
Shiny black head
Bold white cheek
Black stripe down breast
Bright yellow underside
Large for a Paridae
Coal Tit
Black head with white nape patch
Greyish back
Bright buff underside
Large black bib
Two white wing bars
Crested Tit
Pointed distinctive crest
White face
Buff underside
Plain wings, no wing bars
Brown back
Crested Tit
Blue-grey head
Rufus brown body
Streaked wings
Long tail
Black mark down face on male
Bearded Tit
Bearded Tit
Penduline Tit
Broad black mark across face
Red-brown back
Dull white underside
Pale grey face
Red-brown band on wings
Penduline Tit (Rare)
Note the pale buff underside of this bird with pale cheeks. This image also displays the Marsh Tits grey-brown back colour.
Thanks (Modified)
Willow Tit or Marsh Tit?
Willow Tit
Marsh Tit face pattern
Willow Tit face pattern
Willow Tit (left), Marsh Tit (right):

Compare the size of the pale cheeks, the Willow Tits runs right up the the black nape, the Marsh Tits pale cheeks are much smaller.
Marsh Tit
Thanks (Modified)
Unlike the Marsh Tit, this Willow Tit has warm buff-orange flanks and the upper-parts are more dull brown than the Marsh Tits grey-brown. You can also see the larger pale cheeks on this bird with the cheeks extending right up to the black on the nape of the neck.
Willow Tit Marsh Tit
Head shape Large, no neck Smaller, longer neck
Facial pattern White face curves right up to nape White face smaller, not to nape
Crown colour & shape Dull mate black, narrow at nape Shiny black, wide at nape
Throat patch Larger black patch Smaller black patch
Wing panel Distinctive pale panel Plain winged
Underparts Warm buff with orange-buff flanks Pale buff
Bill colour Plain black Plain black with pale mark on upper bill below nostril
Tail shape Rounder tail corners Square corners
Habitat High & low in both Deciduous & Coniferous Usually low on deciduous
Play call/song...
Willow Tit
Marsh Tit
Key identification points of the Marsh Tit
Shiny black cap
White cheeks
Black chin
Grey-brown back
Grey-brown wings
Pale buff underside